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Action - The action of a fishing rod is determined by where a rod flexes along its blank. Faster action rods flex near the tip. Moderate action rods flex near the middle of the blank. Slower action rods flex down into the butt section.

Age-class - A group of fish of a certain species that are of the same age.

Alewife - A forage fish belonging to the herring family.

Algae - This term refers to a very large and diverse group of aquatic organisms that do not possess root systems, leaves or stems and can range from single celled freshwater organisms to more complex varieties of saltwater kelp.

Anal Fin - The single fin located directly behind the anus.

Angler - A person who fishes with a hook and line.

Anti-reverse - A system that prevents reels from spinning in reverse during a hookset.



Backlash - A tangle of line caused by spool overrun on a baitcasting reel.

Backwater - A typically shallow area off of a river.

Bag Limit - A restriction in the number of fish an angler may keep on a given day.

Bait - Generally refers to a natural, synthetic or processed food used to catch fish, not to be confused with a lure, generally manufactured to mimic or represent food.  Bait can also be live, such as worms, leeches, frogs and shiners.

Baitcaster - The most common type of reel used in bass fishing, typically round or oval shaped and somewhat open construction. Also known as level wind reels.

Balsa - A very light and buoyant type of wood that lures are manufactured from.

Bar - A long, shallow ridge in a body of water (Or a place you go to hang out after fishing). This is a type of structure.

Bay - A substantial indentation of a shoreline in a major body of water.

Black Bass - Term used to describe several types of bass, the most common being smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass.

Blank - Fishing rod without any grip guides or finish.

Blind Cast - A cast with no particular target area.

Blood Knot - The most commonly used knot for tying two pieces of monofilament with similar diameters together.

Bluff - A high bank or cliff. This can be a great place for fish to find cover in cracks and crevasses.

Bow - The front of a boat.

Brackish - Water of differing salinity between seawater and freshwater.

Bullet Sinker - Often used when Texas rigging a plastic worm. The shape of this sinker helps the worm get through weeds more easily.

Buzz Baits - Lures resembling spinner baits with propeller style devices on the upper arm, which is typically parallel to the lower arm. The buzz bait rotates and causes a noticeable attraction to fish. Many Buzz baits are surface lures.



C&R - Catch and Release. (A standard practice here at

Canadian Shield - A huge geographical rock formation which spans much of Eastern Ontario and extends down into the northern United States, and home to mostly oligotrophic lakes.

Carolina Rig - A rigging method specifically designed to present a soft plastic lure along the bottom in a lifelike way. This rig consists of a main line with a sinker, bead, then swivel.

Caudal Fin - The tail fin.

Channel - The bed of a stream or river.

Chunk - Plastic or pork (hence the term jig n pig) trailer commonly used on jigs.

Clevis - The swivel device to which a spinner blade is attached and which allows the blade to spin.

Colorado Blade - A round, spoon-shaped blade the Colorado blade is designed for maximum vibration.

Cove - An indentation along a shoreline.

Cover - Often confused with structure, cover is a term used to discribe natural or manmade objects on the bottom of lakes, rivers, or impoundments that can influence fish behavior. Some examples of cover are rocks, docks, weeds, laydowns, and bushes.

CPR - Catch, Photograph, Release.

Crankbait - A plastic or wooden lure with a diving bill, that dives downward when retrieved.

Crayfish - Small fresh water crustacean a favorite food of Smallmouth bass.



DEC - Department of Environmental Conservation.

Deep-runner - A crankbait made to run 10 feet deep or more.

Disgorger - A device for removing hooks deeply embedded in the throat of fish.

DNR - Department of Natural Resources.

Dobsonfly - The adult stage of a hellgrammite.

Dorsal Fin - A median fin along the back which is supported by rays. There may be two or more dorsal fins, in which case the most anterior one is designated the first.

Drag - The device on reels that puts pressure on the line as it plays out and prevents the line from breaking.

Drop-Off - A sudden increase in the depth of a body of water. This is a type of structure.

Drop Shot Hook - This hook is often used for nose hooking any type of finesse style plastic baits like grubs and worms. This is a great hook to use for drop shoting.

Drop Shot Rig - A technique in which the main line is tied to a sinker. The lure is tied to a leader which is then tied a foot or more above the sinker. This rig allows the lure to stay in the target zone of suspended fish.

Dry Fly - These flys are designed to imitate adult insects, floating on top of the water.



Edge - A type of border created by a change in the structure or vegetation in a body of water. Some examples of edges are tree lines, weed lines, or the edge of a drop-off. If you remember only one thing about fishing remember that fish love edges!

Emerger - An aquatic insect during the process of rising to the surface to become a flying adult.

EPA - Environmental Protection Agency.

Estuary - A sheltered area of water, often with a grass bottom or grassy shorelines. Estuarys give juvenile fish shelter, food, and a place to grow.

Eutrophic Lake - A lake which is nutrient rich and surrounded by nutrient-rich soils which add nitrogen, phosphorous and numerous other fertilizers to the waters. Eutrophic lakes generally have a very high percentage of mud and weed bottoms.

Eye - The loop at the end of a hook's shank.



Feeder Creek - A Tributary to a stream.

Ferrule - The joint where different sections of a fishing rod fit together.

Fingerling - The name for a young fish in its first or second year of life.

Flat - An area of water with little to no change in depth that usually contains little to no structure.

Flipping - A fixed-line presentation technique by which a lure (usually a jig or soft plastic bait) is propelled underhand in pendulum fashion to a point a short distance away.

Floating Jighead - A type of jighead in which the hook is molded around a piece of balsa wood or styrofoam instead lead. This type of jighead is often used with a grub on a Carolina Rig when a more life-like presentation is wanted when fishing for walleye.

Florida Rig - Soft plastic lure rigged weedless with a screw-in style slip sinker.

Floss - Material for tying flies.

Fluvial - Migrating between rivers and tributaries.

Forage Fish - Small feeder fish which abundantly breed and serve as food for predatory fish.




Gear Ratio - Measure of a reel’s retrieve speed; the number of times the spool revolves for each complete turn of the handle.

Glaciated - Subject to or created by previous glacial activity.

Graphite - The most popular rod-building material in use today; offers the best weight, strength, and flex ratio of any rod building material currently available.

Green Drake - A large, green colored mayfly found in many trout streams. A favorite food for trout.

Grub - A type of small, plastic worm typically rigged with a round jig head hook.



Hawg - A slang term used to describe a large bass.

Headwaters - An upstream section of the river before the main tributaries join it. This section of the river is typically smaller in width and flow than the main section of the river.

Hellgrammite - the aquatic larva of the dobsonfly.

Hone - To sharpen knives or hooks.

Hump - An area higher than the surrounding area such as an underwater island. This is a type of structure.

Hypolimnion - The layer of water below the thermocline.



Ichthyology - The scientific study of fish.

Indiana Blade - This blade is a hybrid of the Willowleaf and Colorado blades, sharing design features of both, such as the narrow width of the Willowleaf and the rounded shape of the Colorado, with a curved cross-section halfway between the two.

Interorbital - The area between the eyes.



Jerk Bait - A specially balanced plug or soft worm without a built-in swimming action, fished fairly shallow beneath the surface in a twitching motion. Also referred to as a twitch bait.

Jig - A typically metal fishing lure with one or more hooks, often deployed with a jiggling motion on or near the bottom.

Jig-and-pig - The combination of a jig and pork rind or soft plastic trailer typically used to emulate a crawfish.

Jigging - A method of dropping a lure into the water over a fishing site and moving it - “jigging it” - up and down to attract fish.

Jitterbug - A plastic bodied topwater lure with large metal lip. Makes a gurgling noise when retrieved.



Knots - The intertwining of one or more pieces of fishing line as a fastening.

Kype - The hooked jaw that male salmon develop during spawning.



Laydown - A tree that has fallen into a body of water. This is a type of cover.

Leader - A length of monofilament, wire or other stranded material tied between the end of the line and the lure or hook.

Ledge - A severe drop-off. This is a type of structure.

Leeward - The direction toward where the prevailing wind is blowing.

Lentic - Still water systems like lakes and reservoirs.

Light Cahill - A dry fly pattern.

Limit-out - To catch the daily limit legally allowed for a particular species of fish.

Limnology - The scientific study of lakes, ponds, and streams.

Line - Specialized “string” used for fishing.  Nylon monofilament line is generally the most popular line.  Other lines are made of different materials, including braided fibers and wire. FLY LINE is a specialized line made of a plastic coating on a core, and often made tapered (changing diameter) to make fly casting easier. 

Littoral Zone - An area of land bordering a body of water.

Lure - Any artificial item designed to attract fish and fitted with hooks.  These include flies, hard plastic or wood lures (or plugs), soft plastic imitations, large offshore skirted baits, metal spoons, lead-head lures (jigs), bladed lures, spinners, spinnerbaits.



Mesotrophic Lake - A lake surrounded by slightly fertile land with sparse weed growth with mostly rock, gravel or sand basins.

Milfoil - Surface-growing aquatic plants.

Mono - Short for monofilament fishing line.

Mossback - A nickname for largemouth bass.




Nail Knot - A knot used to attach a leader to fly line.

Nares - The nostrils of a fish.

Natal Stream - Stream of birth.

Nest - The place in a river or stream where the female bass deposits her eggs and the fry are guarded by the male.



Octopus Circle Hook - This hook is a cross between an octopus and a circle hook. "Octopus" refers to the eye of the hook being bent back at an angle and "Circle" refers to the point being curved towards the shank. These hooks are known for setting themselves in the jaw as the fish swims away with the bait. These hooks are also known for increasing your hook-up ratio while at the same time not gut hooking fish. These popular hooks are great for live bait, dropshot, or wacky rigging.

Offset Shank Hook - These hooks are often used for fishing plastic worms. The bend in the shank helps ensure that worms are firmly rigged.

Oligotrophic Lake - A lake which is generally surrounded by infertile or sterile land, releasing very few nutrients into the water.

Operculum - The gill cover.

Outrigger - Metal or fiberglass poles used for trolling bait off the side of a boat.

Oxbow - A U shaped bend in a river or stream.



Pick-Up - The act of a bass taking a slowly fished lure, like a plastic worm, senko, or lizard.

Pitching - A underhanded casting technique which resembles a modified flipping cast; the bait is swung forward by raising the tip of the rod, and then allowed to travel forward by free-spooling the line; pitching is most commonly used to present a lure to targets that are just out of range of flipping.

Plastic Worm - A plastic worm is considered to be one of the most effective bass lures ever made. Plastic worms typically have a long, thin profile and lifelike action which suggests a wide verity of prey.

Pocket - A small indentation of the shoreline in a body of water.

Point - A part of the land jutting into the water where deeper water is usually found just beyond the exposed tip and along the length of both sides.

Port - The left side of a boat.

Power - The power of a rod refers to how much pressure it can take to flex the rod.  Varying rod powers are made to more easily handle a certain range of lure weights and line sizes.

Precocious - Fish of a particuler age class that have matured more quickly.

Presentation - A term referring to the choice of lure as well as its color, size, structure target, amount of disturbance it makes when entering the water, retrieval technique, speed, and depth it needs to to to catch fish. This term also refers to the circumstances in which a lure is presented to a fish.

Propbait - A surface lure with one or more propellers.



Quarry - Area excavated for mining operations that fills with water.



Ripping – A retrieve technique frequently used for jerkbaits in which the lure is violently and rapidly pulled before paused.

Riprap - A man-made stretch of rocks that usually extend above and below the shoreline to prevent shore erosion.

Riverbed – The area or channel between the banks through which a river flows.

Rivulet - A small stream.

Roe - Fish eggs.

Round Jig Head - Often used with plastic grubs, worms, or trailers. This is a very versatile jig head. These types of jig heads are usually not weedless.



Sauger - A member of the perch family, the sauger is a smaller and slimmer version of the walleye. The sauger is often overlooked by anglers, or mistaken as walleye.

School - A group of fish congregated in a small area.

Scud - A term for a freshwater shrimp.

Senko - A sensational type of stick bait made by Gary Yamamoto that performs best when it's fished weightless because of its unique, gentle fluttering action when it's falling to the bottom. Because of its success, the Yamamoto Senko is one of the most copied lures ever made. In spite of the number of imitation senkos, the Yamamoto Senko remains the best performer with the Yum Dinger being the next best choice.

Shad - Any of several species of fish related to herring in the family cluepeidae. These fish are known for having rather deep bodies. Although some species (like Gizzard shad) can out grow the bass that feed on them (up to 18"), these fish are generally considered to be forage fish.

Shaky Head Jig - A special flat, football, or round headed jig with a light-wire hook designed for rigging a worm weedless and used in the shaking technique. The shaky head jig is often used on the Zoom Trick Worm.

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Short Strike - When a fish goes to bite a lure but misses it.

Sight Fishing - Fishing for bass that are visible to an angler.

Skipping - A method used to cast small lures hard and at a low angle to the water to make them skip off of the water like a flat stone. This casting technique is typically used when you want to get your bait under something like a low hanging branch or a dock.

Slip Sinker - A lead weight with a hole through the center.

Slow Roll - This is a type of spinnerbait presentation in which the lure is retrieved slowly through or over cover.

Snap Swivel - A type of swivel used to attach a line and a lure togeather. Snap swivels can also help to reduce line twist.

Spinning Reel - This Style of reel allows for easy casting of smaller lures. This type of reel mounts under the rod.

Spoon - A lure used in trolling, usually consisting of a reflective metallic plate shaped like the bowl of a spoon (hence the name) with a fishhook attached.

Spin Casting - Mostly employed in light freshwater fishing, spin casting tackle has a front-cover reel and a hole through which fishing line passes and continues along the rod when released by pushing a button on the reel. The simplest of all tackle types, attractive to many beginners.

Spinner - A metal lure with a revolving blade that spins around a central shaft when retrieved.

Spinner Bait - A V-shaped lure, with spinning blades at the end of one arm, and a tapered lead hook garnished with some skirt or dressing configuration. A popular bass lure that spins as it is retrieved.

Split Shot - A small round fishing weight split in the middle that clamps onto fishing line.

Squamation - Arrangement of scales.

Starboard - The right side of a boat.

Stern - The back of a boat.

Stick-Up - A Term used to describe stationary structure like a stump, tree limb, or a post that is sticking out of the water. This can be a great spot for targeting bass.

Stonefly - A family of aquatic insects commonly imitated in fly fishing. The majority of species are found in western streams.

Stream - A body of running water.

Streamer - A type of in-line spinner or fly that imitates baitfish. Streamers will generally catch larger fish.


Strike - Any “hit” by a fish taking a lure or bait.

Structure - One of the most misunderstood words in all of fishing. Structure is a term that is used to describe features on the bottom of a body of water like bars, stick-ups, drop-offs, ledges, humps, and roadbeds.

Suspended Fish - Fish at mid-level depths, somewhere between the surface and the bottom of a body of water.

Swivel - A device used to attach two lines or a line and a lure togeather.



Terminal Tackle - A general term for describing bobbers, sinkers, hooks, rigs, snaps, swivels and other gear used at the end of a fishing line.

Texas Rig - The method of securing a hook to soft-plastic baits such as a worm, lizard or crawfish, so that the hook is weedless.

Thermocline - The layer of water in a lake in which the temperature changes 10C with each meter increase in depth.

Topwater Lure - A floating lure that is designed to be used on the surface. Some of the most famous topwater lures are most effective when used with a "Walk the Dog" type retrieve that simulates an injured baitfish.

Trailer Hook - An extra hook added to a single-hook lure, such as a spinnerbait or Buzzbait. Many Trailer hooks come with a short piece of tubing that you can use on the spinnerbait hook after you thread on the trailer hook to keep the hook from coming off when you're fighting a fish.

Treble Hook - A fishhook where three hooks share a single shank.

Trick Worm - An extremely versatile and popular floating type of plastic worm made by the Zoom Bait Company. The Trick worm is most often fished weightless while Texas rigged or Wacky rigged or weighted with a shaky head jig.

Tributary - A stream that flows into another stream, river, or lake.

Trolling - A method of presenting a lure or bait behind a moving boat.

Tube Jig head - This jig has a long shank and is intended to be inserted into the hollow body of a tube.

Tube Lure - Made mostly of soft plastic, these tubular lures are often fished with special weighted hooks inserted into the middle of its hollow body.

Tube Rattle - A small metal or glass rattle that's inserted inside the hollow body of a tube. The tube rattle's purpose is producing noise whenever the angler gives action to the tube bait. Glass rattles are generally more preferred because they tend to be louder but they also tend break easily.

Twitch Bait - Another term for a jerkbait.



USCG - United States Coast Guard.

USGS - United States Geological Survey.



Ventral Fin - A paired fin located on the front of a fish’s abdomen.

Vertebrates - Having a skeletal structure and possessing a spinal column.

Vertical Jigging - The lowering and raising of the jig in short succession.



Wacky Rig - Rigging method by which soft plastic bait is hooked through the middle or just off center (depending on your preference) and fished without a weight.

Water Column - The vertical cross section of a water body.

Weedless - A lure with a guard covering the hook, a method of rigging used to prevent snags, or a lure that does not easily become caught on obstructions.

Weed Line - An abrupt edge of an aquatic weed-bed caused by a change in depth, bottom type, or some other factor.

Weeds - Usually refers to aquatic plants; technically, a plant that grows in a place where it is not wanted. This is a type of cover.

Wet Fly - A sinking artificial fly that primarily represents subsurface forms of aquatic insects in freshwater.

Wide-gap Hook - A hook with a large gap between the shank and point. This design helps to ensure more hooksets.

Willowleaf Blade - A long, narrow blade shaped like the foliage it's named after.

Wind - Sometimes stimulates fish activity, but can also cause anglers to struggle with lure presentation and casting.

Winter-kill - A mass die off of fish in shallow ponds or reservoirs due to oxygen depletion.



Yellow Bass - A species in the true bass family.

Yellow Cat - A flathead catfish.

Yolk Sac - In embryos and young fish larvae, a bag-like ventral extension of the gut containing life sustaining materials. It nourishes the growing fish until it is able to feed itself.



Zooplankton - Mostly microscopic animals which drift freely in the water column and sometimes become food for young fish.

Zug Bug - A type of wet fly or fly pattern commonly used by fly fishermen in lakes.